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Old 07-20-2011, 06:36 AM   #99
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Thank you for all the information.

So, given that aluminium plaques disappeared around 1958 and their distinction of indicating a trailer had been on a caravan also changed around this time into more of a general club logo, would it be reasonable to assume that this/any trailer with an aluminium plaque was on an actual Wally Byam caravan?


Sam.
Hi Sam,
Unfortunately NO it is not a good assumption that your '56 Sovereign with the plaque was on a Wally Byam Caravan, although it may have been on one between 1961 and 1965. As I stated earlier, according to the WBCCI Directories I have, the original assignees of #1234, Barney and Della Hempel of Belleville, NE were not on any caravans from 1957 (when the number was first assigned) through 1960 and the later assignees of #1234, Alfred and Dorris Jorgensen of Omaha NE, were never on a Wally Byam Caravan.

The only possibility it was on a Wally Byam Caravan was if the Hempels (or another interim owner) took it on a caravan between 1961 and 1965 before the trailer was sold to the Jorgensens. While not impossible, this seems unlikely. The typical WBCCI member back then participated on a caravan shortly after joining the club, not years after joining. We also don't have proof that the Hempels actually owned your Airstream, nor do we know when they sold it if they did own it. Assuming the Hempels DID own your Airstream, they could have sold it anywhere between mid 1961 (after the 1960 Directory was published) to mid 1965 (before the 1966 Directory was published). It is also possible that the Hempels sold the trailer after 1960 to an interim couple that took it on a caravan before selling it to the Jorgensens prior to 1966. This seems unlikely, but not impossible. If anyone has 1962 through 1965 WBCCI Directories, we can clear up this mystery (there was no 1961 Directory). If not, we can only speculate.

Another reason it is unlikely that your '56 Sovereign went on a caravan is that 30-footers were the longest and heaviest Airstreams made at that time and therefore less likely than shorter models to be taken on a caravan on rough roads in Mexico or Canada when pulled by the typical car of the day. Again, this is not proof, just a supposition. Some 30-footers did go on caravans.

So to conclude, it is possible that your '56 Sovereign was on a caravan, but in my opinion it is unlikely. Unless you find a decal or hidden paperwork from a 1961 to 1965 caravan on or inside the trailer, or unless someone can check the 1962 through 1965 Directories (which I don't have), you probably will never know for sure.
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Old 07-21-2011, 03:24 AM   #100
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Joe,

Many thanks. I find the whole thing very interesting and again many thanks for helping to piece this together.

Also many thanks to the Airforums and the club for making this possible.

I don't wish to clog the thread too much on an individual trailer but I do have a few others questions, that answers could be pm'd or posted (which ever is more appropriate).

- Can I do I title history search?
- Could the club do a S/n search?
- If metal plaques discounted in 1958, then is it reasonable to assume they would not have been added in the 60's and must have been put on the trailer in the 50's?
- We can't confirm who owned the trailer in 56 and 57, we know 1234 do not exist in 57. Could we then assume the Hempels are not the first owners?

She was purchased in 2000 from Shorewood RV in Anoka by Andy Herman who sold the trailer 2011. I am going to give them a phone to see if anyone remembers where she came from.

I can clearly see 'Doris' painted on the lower first segment curb side with a bunch of other details including Omaha Nebraska. It looks like the trailer was given a name, but need get good light on there to work out that this is.

Sam.
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Old 07-21-2011, 06:16 AM   #101
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vintageair View Post
- Can I do I title history search?
- Could the club do a S/n search?

- If metal plaques discounted in 1958, then is it reasonable to assume they would not have been added in the 60's and must have been put on the trailer in the 50's?

- We can't confirm who owned the trailer in 56 and 57, we know 1234 do not exist in 57. Could we then assume the Hempels are not the first owners?
Hi Sam,
- Title searches may or may not be possible. Rules differ in each state. Most likely only go back 10 to 25 years, not all the way to the 1950's. It seems as personal security concerns have increased over the years, more states have stopped doing title searches. I have no idea what the rules are for Nebraska.

- It seems that Mike has stated that the plaques were possibly added to Airstreams as late as 1961 or 1962 if my memory serves. I don't have any specific knowledge of when they stopped being used. But we know they were being added in the 1950's.

- Actually, I believe that the Hempels did in fact own your '56 Sovereign and are very likely it's FIRST owners, although I cannot prove it. I made an error when I provided their home town. It was Bellvue, NE, not Belleville, NE as I previously stated. Bellvue is a suburb of Omaha, NE where the Jorgensens lived. Given the close proximity of the two cities and given that these two couples shared WBCCI number 1234, I think it is very likely that they both owned your Sovereign. The only real question to me is did the Hempels sell the Sovereign to the Jorgensens, or did someone else (also from near Omaha, NE) own it for a time in between 1961 and 1965?
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Old 07-21-2011, 03:37 PM   #102
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I have some updates on 1234 thanks to all your information -

I have spoken with Don Hempel, Barney and Della's son.

I will be in touch with him a good bit more over the next few months all being well. Sadly they have had an untimely family bereavement and I did not wish to take up much of his time. But he spoke fondly of the time they had in their trailers.

Here is an update on trailer 1234 -

The Hemels had three trailers in the 50's, the second two airstreams. They never bought new ones.

They always bought from a dealer in Florida.

The 30ft one was their last sadly due to Barneys health.

They went on two gatherings, one with the 30fter to Islamorada Wally Byam gathering (not sure if that was a real caravan) and got the plaques there. This might just have been a small get together.

Don actually towed 1234 all the way back to Omaha Neb from Florida in his fathers car after Barney himself had been unwell during the holiday.

They sold the trailer to Alfred and Dorris. They did not know them at the time. The numbers got transferred with the trailer.

Pictures from the 50's to follow.

Many thanks,

Sam.
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Old 08-21-2011, 05:04 PM   #103
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Is the any way to check number 3614 on a 55 Ohio Safari? Many thanks, Sam.
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Old 08-22-2011, 09:09 PM   #104
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My 65 directory list 3614 belonging to Doug Trites of Charelette, MI but that is ten years after it was built, so I make no bets.
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Old 08-22-2011, 09:24 PM   #105
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3614

The 1960 Directory also lists Doug & Francis Trites. The highest number listed in the 1960 Dirsectory is 4359, so I would estimate that 3614 was assigned in 1959. It is not in the 1957 Directory which lists 1209 as the highest number, or the 1958 which lists 2290 as the highest number.

It is possible that the Trites' purchased the '55 used about 1960.
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Old 08-23-2011, 02:10 PM   #106
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Thanks Guys,
Did they have a central numbering system that then changed to a regional system?
Regards,
Sam.
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Old 08-23-2011, 06:47 PM   #107
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Thanks Guys,
Did they have a central numbering system that then changed to a regional system?
Regards,
Sam.
All the numbers are sill managed by HQ in Jackson Center.
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Old 08-29-2011, 04:03 AM   #108
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The national numbering system was developed by Wally and administered by his cousin Helen. She was paid by Wally and worked at the Airstream California location. She had a shoe box full of numbered cards to keep track of the members. This was before the time of computers and was the only hand searchable database of the members. Dale, her son, has the whole history.
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Old 03-26-2012, 12:23 AM   #109
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1955 Overlander just purchased Mar 22nd 2012

In all it's aged glory.
Note: restore Wally Byam's Caravan Sticker.
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Old 06-11-2012, 11:18 PM   #110
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I have a number if you could help 15256.
Thanks
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Old 06-12-2012, 07:49 AM   #111
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1970 Directory lists 15256 as Art and Dorthy Booher of Overland, MO. No national caravans
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Old 06-12-2012, 08:01 AM   #112
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I joined WBCCI earlier this year, and was issued number 1105. I'd like to find out who were the past owners of that number, if possible.
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